In 2017 the average regional rate for nursing home care in our area, was approximately $145,000 for just one year of basic nursing home care. In order to qualify for Medicaid to pay for nursing home care, you may only have a very limited amount of assets in your name. We can assist you with immediate or advance Medicaid planning to protect your assets and acquire Medicaid coverage for your nursing home or in-home care.
Even if you have not done any advance planning for long term care, we can assist you with crisis planning should you or a family member suddenly need nursing home care or care in the home. It is critical that you understand that even without planning, we can usually protect a substantial portion of your assets and qualify you for Medicaid nursing home or home care. If because of a lack of planning a guardianship proceeding is necessary, we can also assist you through the guardianship process. You have worked too hard and too long to have to use all your assets for expensive care and leave nothing for your family to inherit.
In the best situation, if you start planning for long term care before it is needed, we can utilize an irrevocable trust to hold some of your assets so that you can simultaneously protect the trust assets and in the future qualify for Medicaid to handle the very high costs of nursing home care or in-home care.
For purposes of Medicaid, any assets transferred to a correctly drafted Irrevocable Medicaid Asset Protection Trust will not be considered as an available asset when applying for Medicaid. However, Medicaid coverage of nursing home care is subject to a five year look back period and any transfers to the trust during the five year period before an application for nursing home coverage is submitted will result in the imposition of a penalty. Therefore, it is best to create and fund the trust in a timely manner so that the five year period can begin to run. (Please note that there is no look back period to qualify for Medicaid home care which is another service we can assist our clients in obtaining.
It is very common when starting long term care planning to put some but not all assets in to the trust. We can assist you in determining the best plan for funding the trust. Given that your home is often one of your most valuable assets, it is common and usually advisable to put the home in to the trust. Please note under the terms of the trust, you are entitled to reside at your property for your lifetime, and you are required to pay the real estate taxes and maintenance on the property. As a result, you will still be entitled to any applicable real property exemptions and most significantly, when you pass your heirs do not have to pay capital gains tax for the years of increased value in your home during your lifetime. Additionally, you have the right to ask the Trustee to sell the property and purchase new property for you to reside at with the proceeds of the sale of the original property. Please note that if the property is sold then the proceeds from the sale remain in the trust unless used to purchase another home. This way the proceeds of the sale are also protected from Medicaid.
The trust will terminate after both spouses have passed. At that time the terms of the trust will dictate whom receives the trust assets, much like a Will or Revocable Living Trust operate. Moreover, if all assets have been moved to the Irrevocable Trust, probate is also avoided.
We know this is a complicated process and focusing on long term care planning can often cause anxiety, but please know we are here to guide you and offer support and options so that both you and your family can be cared for and protected.